A man has just returned home to his wife and says:


Today, I went to the sparrow's house and (ate) delicious food and (came and) saw a sparrow dance.

In the first half of the sentence he moved away from his current viewpoint (行く)which makes sense, but in the second half doesn't 見てきた suggest that he is at the sparrow's house when he is speaking (I came and saw)? Why is it not 見ていった?

I also don't understand why either きた or いった is actually needed here. Doesn't 行く in the first half of the sentence provide all the coming and going information needed?

Lastly, I read the sentence literally to mean "saw both a sparrow dance and delicious food". I'm assuming that the "eating" is somehow implicit. But it could equally well be "cooked delicious food" for example. Am I missing any subtleties here?

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    きた suggests he experienced all these things, then he came home. Pretty sure this is the same as how one does it in English. It would be rather strange if you told your guardian when you came home "I went to the shops before I went home" or something to that avail. Well based on context(I went and looked up the story), the only logical conclusion is that it implicitly includes eating of the food as indicated by the paragraph 雀に案内されて、家の中へ入ったおじいさんは、雀の兄弟や家族、友達から大歓迎をうけました。おいしいお料理に、とても楽しい雀の踊り。おじいさんは、大喜びで過ごしていましたが、「もう日も暮れる。そろそろ帰ることにしよう。」といいました。 But it may be best to wait for someone else to say. Jun 6, 2015 at 13:15
  • Wouldn't "saw and came home" be 見て帰った? I assumed that verb-te きた meant "come and verb". Maybe I'm confusing it with verbにきた. What you say makes sense though. Jun 6, 2015 at 19:45
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    I think you are mixing up 「(verb + てくる」 and 「(verb) + にくる」.
    – user4032
    Jun 7, 2015 at 1:17

2 Answers 2


行ってきた is the te-form of the verb 行く + きた(来た), the subsidiary verb (補助動詞) くる. It's used for "went (and came back)" or "have (just) been to", e.g.

郵便局に行ってきた。I've just been to the post office.


It literally says "Today, I went to the sparrow's house, saw delicious dishes and sparrow dance, and came back." (The お[宿]{やど} here is not inn but house; when ojiisan sings "suzume, suzume, oyado wa dokoda?" he's looking for the little sparrow's house, not their inn.)

But as you can see, the writer intended to say "Today, I went to the sparrow's house, ate delicious dishes, saw sparrow dance, and came back."

I'm not sure this is grammatically "correct" (actually I think it's probably sloppy/wrong) but, we often say and hear sentences like this in daily conversation, or sometimes even in tv drama:


It says "Today, I went to the sparrow's inn, saw delicious dishes or a sparrow dance (there) and came back here".

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